Kanata parkrun, Ontario, Canada

For my sixth parkrun in Canada, I again borrowed a car and set off in the dark. Ottawa isn’t as far from Kingston as Ajax/Toronto, and I was there in good time, allowing a warm up run along the trail. The usual course is a horseshoe, covering the South and North paths round the pond. But they have four different potential courses, allowing for variation if the lower path floods and so on. At the moment, the North part of the trail is closed while the terrain is blasted away nearby, to make room for suburban development (a new subdivision, as they say here). As a result, the route isn’t a horseshoe, but a double out-and-back.

Kanata parkrun course
Kanata parkrun course – one of four variations. This one doesn’t use the North part of the trail, as there is blasting going on there.

It’s pretty flat, but not totally, with one short but noticeable upward section on the way back. That added to the two 180 degree turns and a few twists and turns makes it quick but not super quick, as routes go.

Kanata finish area
Kanata finish area – peaceful, with only 11 finishers.

This was also the first properly cold day of my trip – just over a year, now. It was freezing when I got there at 8:30, and only a little warmer once we had finished running. Decent conditions for running, but not so much for standing around. They are pretty hardy here, and have only cancelled for extreme cold once. When it is ‘just’ very cold, volunteers will set the run going, then take it in turns to sit in a warm car once people start finishing.

Fall colours along the route
Fall colours along the route.

Normally they get around 30 or so people, but this Saturday there were only 11 of us, including the tail walker. About half of those, plus the run director, headed to the cafe for a post-run chat, and our numbers were swelled by a couple whose table we were invited to use – they were near a power point for the results laptop. She was from Ramsgate, and he a cycle-traveller, so I had something in common, or near enough, with both of them, and the morning disappeared in chat and listening in as the run director explained parkrun, its concept and scope, to the fairly elderly lady from Ramsgate. She nodded indulgently.

Beaver Pond, surrounded by trees
Beaver Pond, surrounded by trees. Sunny, but very cold (near freezing) before 9am.

You can’t beat those colours, right? Assuming I am back in England for an Autumn some time, I can see whether the colours there routinely compare. Right now, it seems unlikely. Canada is beautiful. But getting cold around my ears.

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